“A service of mercy” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“When another Christian falls into obvious sin, an admonition is imperative, because God’s Word demands it. The practice of discipline in the community of faith begins with friends who are close to one another. Words of admonition and reproach must be risked when a lapse from God’s Word in doctrine or life endangers a community that lives together, and with it the whole community of faith.

Nothing can be more cruel than the tenderness that consigns another to his sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe rebuke that calls a brother back from the path of sin. When we allow nothing but God’s Word to stand between us, judging and helping, it is a service of mercy, an ultimate offer of genuine community. Then is is not we who are judging; God alone judges, and God’s judgment is helpful and healing.”

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible, trans. Daniel W. Bloesch (Augsburg Fortress, 1996), 105.

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Filed under Christian Theology, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Forgiveness, Mercy, Quotable Quotes, The Church

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